For the second day in a row, New Brunswick has found no new cases of the novel coronavirus in the province.
The number of cases detected in New Brunswick remains at 117.
The province’s chief medical officer of health said on Friday that the lack of new cases is good news and that her message would sound the same as her statement issued on Thursday.
“When it is good news I have no problem repeating it,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell.
Russell said the new testing results do not mean the province can let its guard down.
“We must not give this virus any breaks,” she said.
The province also reached a new high in tests conducted in one day.
On Thursday the province completed 586 tests, a dramatic increase from the 250 tests that were done on Monday.
Russell said of the approximately 9,000 tests the province has conducted, only 1.1 per cent have come back positive.
Premier Blaine Higgs welcomed the news of no new cases on Friday, commending the work of Russell and her team as well as health-care workers across New Brunswick.
Higgs said life will not return to normal any time soon and that even when the province begins to relax restrictions it will be important to practise health policies like physical distancing.
“We cannot make the mistake of going back to our regular lives too early,” said Higgs. “If we do, we could see a resurgence of cases. We all have to continue to play our part.”
He said it’s unlikely that New Brunswickers will be able to host large events any time soon.
The premier said New Brunswick is not at the point where non-essential businesses can reopen but that it is important they begin to plan for that future.
“I encourage business leaders to start considering how they can reopen once it’s safe to do so while taking new measures to protect the health of their patrons,” Higgs said.
Higgs thanked all of the province’s political parties as they worked to pass a pair of bills earlier on Friday.
A handful of members, sitting well apart, met for just 20 minutes to quickly approve the legislation without debate.
“The leaders of the four provincial parties represented in the legislative assembly and our municipal leaders need to forge a direction for this province,” Higgs said.
“There must be a roadmap to recovery absent of partisan politics.”
According to the province, of the 117 cases, 66 are travel-related, 42 are close contacts of previously confirmed cases and nine are the result of community transmission.
Thirteen people have been hospitalized so far and eight have since been discharged.
Three of the five people still in hospital remain in intensive care.
The province says 83 people have recovered.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
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